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Love bourbon but can't love Scotch


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Can anyone recommend a starter Scotch to ease in to from bourbon?  Love bourbon but have yet to have a scotch that I have truly enjoyed.  Are there any bourbon like scotches for a noob?

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BottledInBond

I am not a scotch guy either. I had thought about trying the product in this review. Scotch aged in new American oak barrels and then finished in rye whiskey barrels seems like it might work for me. I'm sure there are many other members here who will offer up some other suggestion though

 

http://www.bourbonguy.com/blog/2016/8/11/johnnie-walker-select-casks-rye-cask-finish

 

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IncredulousNosco
33 minutes ago, BottledInBond said:

I am not a scotch guy either. I had thought about trying the product in this review. Scotch aged in new American oak barrels and then finished in rye whiskey barrels seems like it might work for me. I'm sure there are many other members here who will offer up some other suggestion though

 

http://www.bourbonguy.com/blog/2016/8/11/johnnie-walker-select-casks-rye-cask-finish

 

 

I love bourbon, Scotch and rye. But I don't much care for the JW rye cask finish. It's just not very good. I found it mild and kind of bitter, with mostly young Speyside flavors. 

 

As always, I recommend starting your malty excursions with good single malts like Highland Park 12yo, or Bunnahabhain 12yo. If you wanted to get in really cheap, then some good blends are Isle of Skye 8 or 12yo, or even better, Antiquary 12yo. 

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I would suggest an Irish whiskey to ease into scotch.  Jameson, Bushmill or Tullamore Dew.  If you like it, then try Auchentoshan American Oak single malt scotch whiskey.

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RacePrecision

Glenmorangie 10.

 

Has the honey/toffee notes and clean finish that makes it a relatively easy jump from bourbon.

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Same here, but I don't care, I have enough pleasure with bourbon.

 

like my favorite tv show's character said, bourbon is easy to understand. Tastes like a warm summer day. Man, I miss Justified so much. 

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Same here, but I don't care, I have enough pleasure with bourbon.

 

like my favorite tv show's character said, bourbon is easy to understand. Tastes like a warm summer day. Man, I miss Justified so much. 

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6 hours ago, kaiserhog said:

I would suggest an Irish whiskey to ease into scotch.  Jameson, Bushmill or Tullamore Dew.  If you like it, then try Auchentoshan American Oak single malt scotch whiskey.

 

+1 on the Irish.  I might caution on the basic Jameson and Bushmills, I find them very unrefined and raw in comparison to their better releases, just like Scotch.   Unless you want to ease into low brow scotch, in which case the entry level versions are fine :)

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What is it you don't like about Scotch, or which have you tried and not liked thus far?  I started with bourbon before Scotch, although the first Scotch I really enjoyed was Laphroaig (which isn't ANYTHING like bourbon - I think that is what I liked about it).  I'm not a big fan of Irish, finding it too subtle for my palate - and Scotch can be that way too.

 

Not sure what you can find in 50 mL bottles, but maybe try several at a bar from different spectrums.  I'd maybe try Macallan to see what you think about sherried single malt.  Glenmorangie 10yr is done in ex-bourbon wood rather than sherry.  If you haven't had any Islay single malts, I'd try Laphroaig or Ardbeg to see what you think about peat & smoke (for most new Scotch drinkers, this isn't something they care for at the start - but you never know).  

 

Also, what you like about bourbon might help (or which bourbons you prefer, such as wheaters over rye mashbills, or higher vs lower proof, or age preferences).  

 

Ultimately, you may just not like Scotch.  Hell, I've been trying to "like" beer for 20+ years, and just don't.  Every 4-5 years I'll buy a mixed six-pack at the store to see if anything strikes me right, but thus far no luck.

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Love them both .
So very different. Bourbon sweet and oaky.
Scotch has so many complex different flavor profiles. Peat, no peat. Bourbon cask, Sherry cask. Single malt, blend with grain.
I could go on and on


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My advice is to try (without buying the bottle) quite a few. Minis and a good bar are the way to go. I find scotch is much more subtle, nuanced, and with a broader spectrum of flavored than bourbon. I love both but never really substitute one for another. All the advice above is good but in the end taste is personal and subjective so experience is the last word. It would be easier to tell you what else to try or avoid based on what you've liked or disliked rather than trying to blind bridge you from bourbon to scotch.


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Cragganmore 12.  Still reasonability priced. 

Outstanding nose.  Similar to bourbon, a honey like finish.  No smoke like lagavulin.  Easy to embrace.

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mountaineervol

Consider the Balvenie Double Wood. My issue with some scotches is the peat, and this one reminds me a lot of bourbon. I agree with trying several smaller bottles to try the different profiles. For scotch, it seems more overwhelming when deciding what to try, but I think the Double Wood is a good place to start.

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Special Reserve

While not a Scotch, Redbreast Cask Strength will make a good impression.

 

I have a Laphroaig Cask strength that I haven't tried but I wouldn't be surprised it that made a good impression as well.

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1 hour ago, BourbonGuy said:

Cragganmore 12.  Still reasonability priced. 

Outstanding nose.  Similar to bourbon, a honey like finish.  No smoke like lagavulin.  Easy to embrace.

 

This.

 

Actually most anything from Speyside - those I've tasted all had sweet & some citrus up front, some oak, with not much smoke & peat. Clean finishes.

 

To me Speyside is a great gateway.

 

Eric

 

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2 hours ago, musekatcher said:

 

+1 on the Irish.  I might caution on the basic Jameson and Bushmills, I find them very unrefined and raw in comparison to their better releases, just like Scotch.   Unless you want to ease into low brow scotch, in which case the entry level versions are fine :)

Powers is a blended scotch whiskey produced by Middleton/Jameson that is said to consist of 70% single pot still whiskey or just drink some Redbreast 12 year old for the full single pot still experience. In any event, every individual is different.  Everyone has great suggestions just do your own research and you will find something you enjoy.

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1 hour ago, Special Reserve said:

While not a Scotch, Redbreast Cask Strength will make a good impression.

 

I have really enjoyed all of the Redbreast expressions. Good Suggestion.

 

Price has crept up on these as well though...

 

 

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5 hours ago, mountaineervol said:

Consider the Balvenie Double Wood. My issue with some scotches is the peat, and this one reminds me a lot of bourbon. I agree with trying several smaller bottles to try the different profiles. For scotch, it seems more overwhelming when deciding what to try, but I think the Double Wood is a good place to start.

I'll second this suggestion.    Among the VERY Few Scotches I've ever tried; The Balvenie Double Wood is the only one that gave me any sort of 'Bourbon Hit'.

There a couple others that I pour rarely for their uniqueness (to my schnozz & taste buddies); Laphroaig & it's Cask Strength iteration,and Ardbeg.    Those are very peaty/smokey to me, and stand out for that characteristic.

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garbanzobean
6 hours ago, BigRich said:

My advice is to try (without buying the bottle) quite a few. Minis and a good bar are the way to go. I find scotch is much more subtle, nuanced, and with a broader spectrum of flavored than bourbon. I love both but never really substitute one for another. All the advice above is good but in the end taste is personal and subjective so experience is the last word. It would be easier to tell you what else to try or avoid based on what you've liked or disliked rather than trying to blind bridge you from bourbon to scotch.


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I agree with BigRich.  Find a bar with a good selection and and knowledgeable bartender, and try small amounts of lots of different whiskies.  I think many folk who start out looking for one thing to taste like another thing end up disappointed.  When judged with that inherent bias, many find the new thing to taste off or to be a pale imitation of the old thing.  For example:  I love apple pie and coconut cream pie.  They compete for space on my plate during the holidays, but if I ate coconut cream pie hoping it would somehow taste like apple pie, I'd probably end up pretty disappointed.  If I tried to force a chef to make a coconut cream pie that tasted like apple pie, I would also probably end up disappointed and with a seriously annoyed chef.  Just treat scotch as a separate thing and try to enjoy it on its own merits.  Or get at least get familiar enough with that type of whisky that you can decide for sure to stick to American whiskies.  Maybe keep a bottle of scotch or two around you like okay for when the mood strikes you, or when you have company over that only wants scotch.  

 

The first scotch I tried that I actually liked enough to drink neat was Lagavulin 16, which is nothing like the majority of American whiskies.  It actually took me a long time to learn to appreciate the subtler styles of scotch whisky.  I have started drinking other brown spirits within the past two years, and it turns out that I like funky, estery rums, and big fruity brandies (incidentally, I don't care for Irish or Canadian whiskies.  Just not my cup of tea, which is a shame since there are some nice ones out there).  It seems that when I start out trying a new category of something, be it food or drink, I tend to enjoy exemplars of a category with characteristics that are very obvious.  Even when my palate for that given thing matures, I tend to retain a nostalgic fondness for the bolder examples.  Some of my best fondest memories have been made with good company and spicy food, bold red wines, hoppy beer, rugged barrel proof bourbons, or big ol' peat (or sherry) bomb malts.

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I agree with the suggestions to find a bar with a good selection from the various regions in Scotland and try to see if any suit your palate. Finding a scotch with bourbon-like qualities makes little sense to me. If you like bourbon but not scotch, why try and force it? Just drink good bourbon.

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The trick is to not try for a scotch that is pitched as "bourbon like" or anything like that. A decent "glen" is a good starting point. Depending on the price point you are after, Glenmorangie, Glen Moray, Glenfiddich, Glen Livet etc (not sure about those spellings). Try a 10-15 year to start. A decent blend to start off with is Monkey Shoulder.

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4 hours ago, El Vino said:

I agree with the suggestions to find a bar with a good selection from the various regions in Scotland and try to see if any suit your palate. Finding a scotch with bourbon-like qualities makes little sense to me. If you like bourbon but not scotch, why try and force it? Just drink good bourbon.

 

I went through a similar phase, couldnt get myself to like it. Then one day after some time, I got some as a gift and gave it another try. All of a sudden it all seemed to make sense on my palette, and have been branching out to different scotches ever since.

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I also ventured down this rabbit hole once and concluded I hate all things scotch. So I gave up trying even after trying many of the suggestions here. And, honestly, after trying them I don't understand many of these suggestions as they are nothing like bourbon.

 

If you have any luck finding something that doesn't make you vomit in your mouth, i'm all ears.

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I've been experimenting with scotch and like some of them quite a bit. I started with Glen Moray, which was not expensive and was quite good.  The variety in taste is much greater than in bourbon from what I've tried.  My problem with it, is cost. Most of the ones with a good reputation are probably double to triple what I usually spend on bourbon.  Since I really like lots of bourbons, it difficult for me to justify spending a lot more on the scotch. At this point, I'm keeping a couple scotches in my liquor cabinet, but most of my stock is bourbon.  I expect I'll continue to try new ones now and then, but unless I run into some I absolutely love, it probably won't ever become a significant portion of my whiskey. 

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